In Portland, every day is bike-to-school day! [6.5min vid]

I live close to an elementary school that I pass by every day on my route to class, and there are always kids’ bikes locked up the racks there.

but what made me more surprised and smile was when one day I passed by around 3pm, and a little boy in a yellow vest popped into the crosswalk with a yellow flag, acting as a crossing guard—instead of an adult doing it. props to the police dept. for training these fifth graders! 

streetfilms, 18.11.13.

Safe Routes to School projects take root in the Shenandoah Valley

Safe Routes to School projects take root in the Shenandoah Valley

A number of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects have been initiated or completed in the Shenandoah Valley region over the past year, and with National Bike Month approaching in May, officials are stepping up efforts to showcase alternative transportation options through biking and walking.

Recent SRTS projects have been completed at Mountain View Elementary in Rockingham County and The Plains…

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Maui Awarded $650K for Safe Routes to School

Maui County’s Public Works Department will soon be working on two projects to make it safer for students to walk to school.

The state Department of Transportation, which administers the federal Safe Routes to School program, announced the two awards today.

The Princess Nahienaena Elementary School project will receive $155,000 and the Kamalii Elementary School project will get $495,000.

Here are more details from HDOT:

The County of Maui Public Works Department was awarded $155,000 for the Princess Nahienaena Elementary School SRTS Project. The project will replace and construct new curb ramps, and revise crosswalk striping at the intersection of Niheu Street and Kumukahi Street. Improvements will also be made at the intersection of Lahainaluna Road and Kuialua Street, including the installation of raised curbing in the traffic islands, crosswalk striping, signage revisions, and the installation of pedestrian crossing signs with rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) for the Lahainaluna Road crossing.

The County of Maui Public Works Department, in partnership with the Keonekai Neighborhood Association, was awarded $495,000 for the Kamalii Elementary School SRTS Project. The project will construct a midblock crossing with a RRFB system across Keonekai Road, makai of Kanakanui Road; replace and construct a new sidewalk and curb ramps along the south side of Keonekai Road between Puu Hoolai Street and new midblock crossing; construct 700 feet of new sidewalk along the makai/west side of Kanakanui Road, south from Alaku Place; and install radar feedback signs on three approaches to Kamalii Elementary School on Auhana Road, Alanui Kealii Street, and Kanakanui Road.

Walk [Birmingham]

There are so many ways Walk [Your City] campaigns can support civic and organizational goals: lately, we’re especially intrigued by the idea of allying with Safe Routes to Schools programs, and reminding families that “it’s not too far” to explore local amenities.

Given our interest in starting kids on the path to pedestrianism early, we were very excited to hear about the recent Walk [Birmingham] campaign. Coordinator Nick shared that W[YC] aligned with local goals: “The hope is that along with this increase of choosing an active mode of transportation, there will be an increase in advocacy and construction of supportive bike/ped infrastructure.” Walk [Birmingham] is specifically focused around neighborhood routes, including paths to school, and kicked off with an event “focused on the promotion of active lifestyles for youth.”

The reaction so far? Walk [Birmingham] is already having a positive impact! Nick’s favorite reaction: “On a Friday night, a couple of weeks ago, I was walking out of the Birmingham Barons baseball stadium after the end of the game, and I overheard a girl who appeared to around 8-10 years old talking to her parents. As they were walking past Railroad Park, I heard her saying, ‘Mommy, did you know it’s only a 15 minute walk to the Civil Rights Institute from here?’” Sounds like a good start to us!

An update on Walk [Birmingham]: we got in touch with another project partner, the Freshwater Land Trust! They’re involved as part of their work to get more trails and greenways on the ground in their region, which will make it even easier for folks to be physically active. As Trail System Coordinator Ryan shared: “Over ⅓ of residents within our county reported doing no physical activity within the past month, so we wanted to create a tool that would make walking seem more interesting.” More folks walking will hopefully lead to more interest for trails in the area.

We love seeing meaningful organizational partnerships happen around W[YC] projects – just another reminder that walkability serves so many critical functions in our communities!

Email/Call Senator Barbara Boxer TODAY

Today and tomorrow, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee led by Senator Barbara Boxer is discussing what will go into the federal transportation bill, a decision that will effect the next 6 years. If you support walking and bicycling as safe modes of transportation, let her know your support. Ask her to save important programs like Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails.

Call: 202-224-3553

The League of American Bicyclists suggest the following talking point:

“I am one of your constituents and I want to thank you for always protecting bicycling and walking programs and to let you know that bicycling and walking need to be a part of the next transportation bill. Please ensure that Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program continue with strong and dedicated funding as they are today.”

Email: via this form

People for Bikes suggests the following talking points:

Senator Boxer has been a time-tested supporter of dedicated funding for bicycling and walking programs, specifically Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails.

This cost-effective federal investment has paid for bike lanes, bike paths, Safe Routes to School programs, paved and dirt trails, and bike bridges and
underpasses. It has supported thousands of bike/ped projects in all 50 states that make biking safer, more convenient and more appealing.

This year Americans will make more than 4 billion bike trips.

More than 11 percent of all U.S. trips are currently made on foot or by bike, while only 1.5 percent of transportation funding is spent on bicycling
and walking.

The federal investment in bike infrastructure cuts road congestion, obesity, air pollution, and dependence on foreign oil.

Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest- traffic through Twin Pines

Council authorized a study of traffic conditions to propose solutions on Ralston Avenue in Belmont last year. The Ralston Corridor Study has put together $9M of solutions one of which is to route bicycle traffic through Twin Pines park.

There are a number of problems with this suggestion:

Dumb- Parks have different rules and enforcement from streets that are designed to used 24/7/365. Twin Pines like other parks around the area has signs informing users that it will close at sundown. With day light savings time, that closure would occur during the commute period. How can the Public Works Department justify spending regional transportation funds when the access is unclear?

Dumber- The park is very narrow in this section so any new right of way will come at the expense of large established trees that determine both the appearance of Ralston Ave, as well the park atmosphere within Twin Pines. Placing the path by the street in effect is a widening of the street, but the purpose, diverting bicycle traffic, has no observed success rate in an urban setting.

Dumbest- Jane Jacobs admonition to observe, observe, and observe is completely ignored by the study- the park on the westerly side is used primarily by toddlers and young children. Do you want your little children to be dodging bike traffic trying to get places? Children also need to get to Nesbit Elementary School. Yet the study recommends preserving all the dangers for safe routes to school on Ralston between El Camino and 101.


After improvements were made around the Hansen School in Canton, MA.
Photos courtesy of MassDOT Safe Routes To School Program

MassDOT Safe Routes Engineering Projects Shape the Attitudes and Decisions of a Future Generation

By Johanna Blue
MassRIDES Marketing Manager

    Throughout the Commonwealth, the Safe Routes to School Program is actively shaping the attitudes and decisions of a future generation. The implementation of GreenDOT policy and the progressive movement to put healthier initiatives into action by promoting active modes of transportation is paramount.  Most recently, MassDOT hosted the Moving Together conference to discuss alternative mode shifts which specifically target bicycling and walking as active modes of transportation. That is exactly what the Safe Routes to School program accomplishes, simply with a much younger audience.
    The Safe Routes to School program is a federally funded initiative of MassDOT. Established in 2006, the program supports community efforts to encourage elementary and middle school students to walk and bike to school by offering pedestrian safety education, funding for pedestrian infrastructure improvements and encouraging community partnerships between law enforcement, education leaders and public health departments.
    MassDOT currently partners with 575 elementary and middle schools with attendence reaching upwards of 259,000 students spanning 165 communities, which is more than 45% of the municipalities across the Commonwealth. Nationally, Safe Routes initiatives are serving 15% of schools, whereas the Massachusetts program is serving nearly 40%.
    An added benefit of the Safe Routes Program is that it encourages physical activity and healthy behaviors in an effort to curb childhood obesity rates. Between 1976 and 2004, the percentage of overweight children aged 6 to 11 years nearly tripled. According to the results of a 2010 Center for Disease Control’s National Obesity Trends Survey, between 1976 and 2004 the percentage of overweight children ages 6 to 11 years nearly tripled. Clinically obese children make up 17% of children nationwide.
    In an effort to curb this obesity trend and with an understanding that suitable school zone infrastructure in support of walking and biking varies from community to community, MassDOT employs the Engineering component of the Safe Routes to School program to create infrastructure improvements. Safe Routes to School partners, through an annual infrastructure assessment application process, request improvements such as the installation of sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, bike paths, traffic signals, traffic calming devices, and pedestrian crossing signs. Most recently, MassDOT completed Safe Routes engineering projects in Attleboro, Canton, Chelsea, Lowell, Reading and Scituate. The following improvements were celebrated this fall:

1. Thacher Elementary School Attleboro, MA
    Approximately 1,500 ft of new sidewalk along the easterly side of James Street from the intersection of Brownell Street to the intersection of Carpenter Street was constructed. A small portion of new sidewalk along the westerly side of James Street was also constructed from Maple Street to Carpenter Street.  New crosswalks and ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps were constructed at the intersections of James Street, with Brownell, Orange, Mulberry, Maple, and Carpenter Streets. The improvements included new pavement markings, new traffic signs, new pedestrian warning signs, and drainage modifications.

2. The Hansen School
Canton, MA
    Approximately 200 ft of new sidewalk with grass panel was constructed along Kenney Street to the intersection of Washington Street.  Approximately 1400 ft of sidewalk with grass panel was reconstructed along Pecunit Street from Washington Street to the intersection of the Galvin Middle School driveway located to the north of the Canton Little League baseball field. The parking lot for the baseball field was reconstructed to provide a one-way flow configuration with angled parking stalls and a defined sidewalk space. Pecunit Street was also reconstructed within the limits of the project and striped to depict 5 foot wide bike lanes. New ADA accessible wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, traffic signs and pedestrian warning signs, and minor drainage modifications were also included.

3. Browne & Wright Middle School
Chelsea, MA
    The project included sections of sidewalk (or bump-outs) to reduce the roadway section, wheelchair ramps, and approximately 150 ft of full depth pavement reconstruction at the school entrance along Walnut Street. Bump outs, wheelchair ramps and a push-button activated flashing warning beacon were installed at the intersection of Walnut Street and Fifth Street. The intersection of Arlington Street and Sixth Street was also reconfigured to include an additional sidewalk, wheelchair ramps, and a landscaped area. New pavement markings, signs, and minor modifications to the existing drainage system were also included.   

4. McAuliffe Elementary School
Community: Lowell
    Approximately 1400 ft of new sidewalk was added along the entrance and exit driveways of the school, beginning and ending at Beacon Street. In addition, a 100 ft section of sidewalk was constructed along Beacon Street to create a connection with the primary pedestrian crossing to the school. Also included was a 300 ft section of new sidewalk along the west side of June Street between the school’s exit driveway and Thirteenth Street. The school entrance and exit driveways were striped to depict 5 foot wide bike lanes. New ADA accessible wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, traffic signs, pedestrian warning signs, and minor drainage modifications were also included.

5. Parker Middle School
Reading, MA
    The project included approximately 500 ft of new sidewalk with grass panel along Washington Street, between Woburn Street and Prescott Street.  Multiple large street trees were preserved during the installation of 650 feet of new sidewalk along Sunnyside Avenue, between Prescott Street and Fairview Avenue. New ADA accessible wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, traffic signs, pedestrian warning signs, and minor drainage modifications were also included.

6. Hatherly School
Scituate, MA
    Approximately 2,800 ft of new sidewalk was constructed along Hollett Street from the intersection of Gannett Road to the intersection of Ann Vinal Road. New crosswalks and ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps were constructed at the intersections of Hollett Street with Gannett Road, Sedgewick Drive, Bullrush Farm Road, and Ann Vinal Road. Improvements also included new pavement markings, traffic signs, pedestrian warning signs, retaining walls, and minor drainage modifications. The project was coordinated with the Scituate DPW to incorporate their waterline replacement and a reconstruction project on Hollett Street.
    To achieve the goals of  the GreenDOT and Healthy Transportation Compact, MassDOT aims to create sustainable and comprehensive walking and biking programs through its Safe Routes to School partners and their communities. The creation of strong partnerships with community stakeholders, government officials and non-profit organizations is vital to fulfilling this goal. Together, these collective partnerships ensure today’s youth have access to safe spaces for walking and bicycling to school, educational resources on pedestrian and bicycle safety, opportunities for physical activity and the knowledge to prevent injuries, which will assist in the development of healthy attitudes and decisions towards active transportation.
    For more information on the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program please contact Samantha Fonseca-Moreira, Statewide Coordinator at or follow us on Twitter @SafeRoutes_MA or

Mass Interchange, Winter 2013

[Letter dated November 15, 2012]. Good morning Congressman Oberstar, It was a pleasure to meet you at the Cook County Active Living Summit in Grand Marais - the person who spearheaded the Safe Routes to School program when it all began.  Great work setting in motion a shift in habit about how kids (and parents who walk them there) get to school! Thank you for leading the Walking School Bus yesterday morning in Grand Marais and for a wonderful presentation on “Love of Place”.   It was confirming to hear your comments about integrating health into transportation and other types of planning, which is a key component in the work I do, as well as that of others in attendance at yesterday’s summit, but a worthy one to be sure. It was inspiring to hear how a single person can have such a huge impact on changing the direction of people’s thinking and actions, like what Bill Carlson did in Cambridge by creating a boardwalk for kids to safely get to school and what you did in Congress, by creating the Safe Routes to School program that positively encourages so many people to be physically active.  I was also inspired by your quotes from Louis Mumford, “The City…is the cross roads of civilzation” and in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “…go where there is no path and leave a trail”. Thank you again for presenting at the Cook County Active Living Summit and being an inspiration to me in my bicycling advocacy work. I look forward to continuing to share active living success stories from northern Minnesota, of how community champions lead change in their communities.  I met so many of these local leaders at yesterday’s summit, who have great stories to tell and many more stories to be told as the work continues to progress. Have a wonderful day! Natalie Gille, Northern Minnesota Bicycle Friendly Community Program Manager League Cycling Instructor (LCI), #3660, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, #218-239-0076 (cell),

City of Boulder requests community proposals to improve walking and biking to school

As a part of the Colorado Safe Routes to School program, the City of Boulder is requesting community proposals for infrastructure improvements that would enable more students, parents, faculty, and staff to walk and bike to schools in Boulder. The required proposal materials are available online at   

Completed proposal forms must be returned to GO Boulder by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to be considered for inclusion in the city’s 2013 grant application to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). In addition, a tally sheet summarizing the number of students currently walking and biking to school is due by Thursday, Nov. 15, and letters of support are due by Friday, Nov. 30.  

Community proposals for Colorado Safe Routes to School infrastructure improvements must meet all of the requirements listed below in order to be eligible for funding. All proposals must:

  • be located within a City of Boulder public right-of-way;
  • involve an area within two miles of a public or private elementary or middle school;
  • facilitate and increase safe biking and walking access and connectivity along school routes;
  • demonstrate a partnership with the school community; and
  • establish that the Boulder Valley School District will assume responsibility for promoting and evaluating the success of the improvements (if the proposed improvements are near a public school).

“Colorado Safe Routes to School offers another source of revenue to fund local projects that improve walking and biking routes near our schools,” said Bicycle/Pedestrian Transportation Planner Marni Ratzel. "We hope to receive funds through the 2013 Safe Routes program so that we can continue to make walking and biking to school safer, easier and more enjoyable.”

Since 2005, the city’s Transportation Division has been awarded more than $1 million in Safe Routes to School funding for infrastructure improvements. The city’s 2012 project, proposed by the Manhattan Middle School community, was awarded a $250,000 grant to install a traffic signal and sidewalk improvements at the intersection of South Boulder Road and Manhattan Drive. The project is anticipated to be completed in fall 2013.

This fall, a 2011 Safe Routes to School grant allowed the city to complete a sidewalk along Linden Avenue that will benefit students walking and biking to five schools in Boulder. For more information, view the Safe Routes to School in Boulder Program Update.

Detailed information about the proposal requirements and a schedule of deadlines for submitting proposal materials are available online at Interested applicants can also contact Bicycle/Pedestrian Planner or at 303-441-4138.

For more information about the federal Safe Routes to School program, visit

It's walk-to-school week: Are you in?

by Betsy Shaw posted in Mom Stories It’s national, actually international, walk to school day. For some school districts,like ours, it’s walk to school week. In an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle, safer more walkable communities, and a cleaner environment, Walk to School is urging school administrators to get as many families as possible… Read more »

Safe Routes To School Program

The City of Beacon announced the start of a Safe Routes To School program, today. It seems like this initial project is just for the Forrestal Elementary School, but I will do some research and see what is planned in the future for other schools.

Safe Routes To School Program

The City of Beacon, in partnership with the Beacon City School District, is applying for SRTS funding to replace sidewalks and curbs, and install new crosswalks and signage along Liberty Street in the vicinity of the J.V. Forrestal Elementary School.  The replacement of these badly deteriorated sidewalks will improve the physical environment to make it safer for children to walk to school.  The Forrestal school will provide walking and bicycling safety programs and activities, and survey students and parents to evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives.  In addition, the City Police Department will provide additional enforcement activities to ensure that traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of the school. Following is a description of the program:


Introduction and Overview

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is a Federal-aid transportation reimbursement program administered by NYSDOT that promotes safe, healthy alternatives to riding the bus or being driven to school. The program emphasis is to encourage and enable children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; make walking and bicycling safe and more appealing; and facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects which will improve safety and reduce vehicular traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution within a two-mile vicinity of primary and middle schools (K-8). The SRTS Program provides the opportunity to implement projects which reflect a broad spectrum of NYSDOT policies related to promoting livable and walkable communities and increasing community quality of life which has a direct impact on the economic attractiveness of New York State’s communities. SRTS promotes the integration of transportation and land use through the collaborative planning process mandated for the program involving state, regional, and local stakeholders. The SRTS program will also provide diversity of mobility choices through bicycle and pedestrian-friendly design, resulting in projects that enhance urban revitalization efforts.

Coordination between infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities is encouraged to achieve successful outcomes. Research has shown the most successful way to increase bicycling and walking is through a comprehensive approach which includes the 5 Es (Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Evaluation). Applicants are strongly encouraged to develop innovative and comprehensive projects that may involve actions which, if implemented, have high potential to promote a healthy environment for school children, to reduce air pollution near schools, reduce excessive travel speeds, reduce traffic volume, or reduce the occurrence and/or severity of (potential) accidents on local streets. The SRTS program highly encourages infrastructure project applicants to include education, encouragement, and enforcement activities as well the required evaluation activities. 

  • Listen

Safe Routes to School on Bike Talk

We look at Glendale’s RD White Elementary School - a Safe Routes success story - and talk about how to identify opportunities for safer travel to school, and review demonstrable local achievements that have flowed in this community from the leadership of everyday folks with little money to mount a big campaign.

In-Studio Guests

Kara Sergile, grassroots advocate, about organizing for action and getting an advocacy toehold in your community.

Mikaela Randolph talks about school district joint use facilities and opportunities to leverage school district plant investment for local recreation and health benefits.

Jessica Meaney talks Safe Routes policy context and the need to ‘flip the script’ by looking holistically at data-driven transportation planning. We need to connect the public health & transportation dots, she says.

South Los Angeles advocate Tafari Bayne talks about connecting those dots for safer streets via a local non-profit like Trust LA.

Planner Deborah Murphy reminds us that there is no ‘silver bullet’ but instead there are multiple means (like the five Es of education, enforcement, etc.) to the safe streets end.

Paul Backstrom from City Council district 15’s (Rosendahl) provides an update on the City of Los Angeles’s new pedestrian staffer and talks about securing school-proximate improvements.

Thanks to Jim Brown of the California Bicycle Coalition for calling in with news from Sacramento and around the nation. Much appreciated, Jim!

Additional links:

Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Los Angeles County DPH
T.R.U.S.T. South LA
Los Angeles Walks

Supplemental reading:

Why Johnny Can’t Ride
Take Back the Burbs
A Talk With a Walker: Los Angeles Walks’s Deborah Murphy

Safe Routes Grant Approved

LOS ANGELES - The California Dept. of Transportation recently announced [.pdf] a slew of grants to help improve pedestrian safety near schools throughout the state, including two projects in Council District 2.   One project, for which Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s office applied and worked with state and local officials to bring to fruition, is in North Hollywood and will fund nearly $500,000 for a series of improvements on Archwood Street that will benefit Bellingham Primary Center and Roy Romer Middle School. Crews will construct sidewalks, curbs and gutters, curbs, as well as speed humps and signs.    The other project in Council District 2 is in Van Nuys and will benefit Van Nuys Elementary School. The $500,000 project will install road diets, speed humps, and safety lighting, as well as crosswalk upgrades.    “Every day, thousands of students walk and bike to and from Bellingham Primary Center, Roy Romer Middle School and Van Nuys Elementary School,” Councilmember Krekorian said. “This award of a million dollar in Safe Routes to School grants will now make that journey much safer for these students and their families.    "After more than a year of sustained efforts by my office and others to secure this funding, we will soon be able to construct new sidewalks and curbs, install signage, lay new speed humps and more to protect students and the neighbors who live and work near those schools.    "Pedestrian safety has always been one of my top priorities throughout my service in the Council and in the Legislature, and I am very pleased that these state grants will now fund these vital projects in my district. At a time when public funding at all levels of government is being cut so severely, I am very proud that my office succeeded, through hard work and creativity, in finding alternative funding for these important public safety measures to benefit the children of the Valley.”
Lost in the Shuffle of today's news...

New Transportation Bill Cuts Biking & Walking Funding by More Than 60 Percent

Lost in all the news about the Supreme Courts decision on health care is the fact that Congress is about to vote on a new transportation bill that severely affects funding for walking and biking.

This bill:

Cuts available biking and walking funds by 60 to 70 percent.

Eliminates dedicated Safe Routes to School funding. 

Weakens local control.

Makes biking and walking compete with new, expensive eligibilities.

What a sad day. This was essentially a compromise because Republicans tried to force the Keystone pipeline deal into the bill. Wow. We really won on this one. Let’s fund the expensive, car centric way of life and forget the sustainable alternatives. Not to mention drop safety funding for children trying to get to school. Shame on Congress.

Any How to School But Car
“Why Can’t She Walk to School,” a piece published yesterday in the Sunday New York Times, has elicited a fair amount of opinion lobbing. Commuting to work by bicycle in the summer is a fairly relaxed experience, compared to how busy the roads get when school begins in September. You have to wonder at one of the illogical motives for driving kids to school — too much traffic. Hmmmm. So YOUR car doesn’t count?

The other illogical reason is abduction fears and the NY Times article points out the vast difference in numbers between how many kids get abducted annually in the U.S. and how many die in vehicular crashes: “About 115 children are kidnapped by strangers each year, according to federal statistics; 250,000 are injured in auto accidents.” We can control random abductions but not car crashes?
One way to get around this is to bike to school, you can supervise your kids AND reduce traffic making it safe for everyone. Yet communities in the U.S. have seen an increase in bike bans in school districts. (A Saratoga, NY student and his mom challenged a bike ban on the first day of school.) It’s like the residents on a busy street who say no to a bus because….the street already has too much traffic. Hmmmm. Compare this attitude with a district in Amsterdam that wants to encourage even MORE people to bicycle.